The December 2017 Bronx apartment fire proved far too deadly – 12 people perished, including four children explains one of the NYC apartment building burn injury attorneys at the F&A law firm which has litigated numerous apartment fire cases. Early reports indicate that a small, three-year-old boy playing with the burners on his kitchen stove accidentally ignited the blaze. After he screamed when the fire started, his mother grabbed him and another younger child before exiting the apartment. Sadly, she made a deadly mistake by leaving her apartment door open.
All Recent Fires Have Taken a Serious Toll on New York City
New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro says that leaving the door open was a fatal error. It allowed the flames to move rapidly out of the woman’s kitchen into the stairwell. Nigro noted that flames always travel upwards. One of the people who perished was a brave young soldier who managed to rescue many before dying in the inferno. Besides those who lost their lives, at least four others were critically injured in the fire.
New York City has seen too many catastrophic fires in recent years, including one in Hamilton Heights, another in Brooklyn and one in Queens. This new Bronx fire has now been ranked as the deadliest one in New York City in 27 years.
Given the many new fires that keep breaking out, it’s important for everyone – whether living in an apartment, condo or house – to review basic fire prevention tips to prevent new fires from every occurring in the first place.
Observing Residential Fire Safety Guidelines Can Save Lives
- Kitchens should remain “off-limits” to unattended small children. The National Fire Protection Association says that more than half of all home fires start in the kitchen. All parents should keep their children out of the kitchen when they can’t be there to supervise them. Safety gates and other devices might be used to prevent unintended entries. Parents should also forbid all younger children – those not yet in their later teens – to ever cook when a parent isn’t home. Adults must explain the many dangers present when anyone cooks. Babysitters should also be reminded to keep all kids out of the kitchen;
- Candles can quickly become dangerous. You should only leave a candle burning while you’re still in the same room. Too many candle flames start fires when a slight wind blows through a room. Never leave children or pets alone in a room with a lit candle. When you just need light, always choose a flashlight when one is available;
- Do not smoke inside any home or office. When smokers fall asleep in bed or elsewhere in their homes, they often cause deadly fires. All cigarette and cigars smokers should only smoke outdoors out of respect for others – and in keeping with local fire ordinances;
- Indoor heating equipment must be carefully used since it’s the second major cause of fires. Most heating appliances, especially space heaters, should only be used when you’ll be awake and in the same room while they’re running. Never leave children or pets alone in the same room with any space heater;
- All large or major home appliances and electrical equipment should be checked regularly. Even if a large TV or other major appliance is still working, you must regularly check to be sure its plugs and cords aren’t frayed or worn out. Also, never plug in numerous appliances into the same wall socket – even when using special wall units with extra openings for the plugs. Overloading electrical circuits often leads to fires. Lengthy extension cords should also be avoided;
- Talk to your children about arson. Since most kids are fascinated by matches and all types of flame lighters, parents must talk about their dangers – clearly making the point that playing with such items can cause deadly fires;
- If a fire does break out in your home, always close the front door (or any exit door) when leaving. The tragic Bronx fire of December of 2017 might have proven far less deadly if the frantic parent had made that decision;
- During winter holiday seasons, Christmas trees must be regularly watered and all lighting used responsibly. Always be sure to properly space your ornaments and lighting on your tree and be ready to dispose of the tree when it becomes a dry fire hazard;
- Basic cooking safety advice should be followed. Always use a timer when cooking. It’s just too easy to get on your cell phone or otherwise become distracted when you’ve got food cooking. Also, make sure your children know which types of cookware can be used in the microwave – and only allow the older ones to use the microwave unattended. Never leave anything cooking when you think you’re just stepping outside to run an errand or walk the dog. You can easily be delayed and return to a kitchen on fire;
- Make sure you have fully functional smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors in your apartment or home. Ask your apartment manager to install them. If that office refuses, either move out now or install them for your own safety. You must check to be sure they’re working properly at least twice a year;
- Be sure to limit storage of gasoline and various flammable substances in your car port or garage. If you must keep these items (or have lawn mowers or other machines containing them), make sure you keep them locked up and away from where children or others can carelessly access them;
- Make sure you have a fully functional fire extinguisher in your apartment or home. Also, ask your apartment manager or maintenance personnel to show you how to use it. If you’re too intimidated to reach for the extinguisher when you need it most, everyone loses. Finally, be sure the device hasn’t passed its expiration date.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a New York City apartment fire, contact your personal injury attorney right away. Once we accept your case, we’ll immediately have the premises inspected and get copies of all city and fire department investigation reports while preparing your case for settlement or trial. We’ll make every effort to obtain the maximum compensation owed to you for all your losses.